Year one of college is done! No more being a freshman. I am now a sophomore come September, if not now! What a tough semester it has been.
Anyway, this past month I was sitting with an English professor – now teacher friend of mine – and talking about what has happened in regard to the Baltimore riots. To say it was extraordinary barely scratches the surface. During the conversation we had, she said that “one can not truly grasp what those people are going through.” The use of this phrase was in the context of the people going nuts after what had happened in Baltimore and how people from such drastically different lives and worlds can interact but never truly understand what the other person’s life has been or is. We have all heard it before – philosophical phrases such as “Never criticize a man until you walk a mile in his moccasins.” There are hundreds of derivatives of this phrase, all warning one about the angers of passing judgment on another individual. However, the myth of a shared reality seems to resonate deeper than all other philosophies. It suggests, or perhaps it flat out states, that the idea of one person truly understanding the reality of another person is not even substantially possible. Every person lives their own life. Oh sure, every family and every one works diligently to help with shaping and guiding their life, but when you get right down to it, every life is solitary and unique.
My relationships with my family and friends are mine and mine alone. Yet, my family and friends interact with other people differently than they interact with me because my reality is mine and their reality is theirs. As an example, just because a bunch of us may have been in the same college band does not mean that we all had the exact same experience. If there were 240 people in the band then there were 240 SEPARATE realities of the exact same memory (go on, work on that for a while and see if your brain does not start to overload). Let me get more specific and look at a singular event.
There are two people that are leaving SCSU college to go back to their hometown – one going back to Meriden and one going back to Rhode Island. Their names are Dom and Rob. My experience with them during the semester that we lived together became my reality, but it was not the same reality or experience for anyone else. Yes, we were all in the same place at the same time – but were we really? Not literally. I was in a dorm or practice room or working to do what I had to do, while the vast majority of everyone else were spending their time doing whatever they needed to do. Each of us had different responsibilities. I will bet that some were similar person to person, but ultimately they were all different in some manner. Thus our realities were different even though we were doing the same thing – living life while we had the chance.
Now here is where it gets just a little crazy – who is to say one reality is more real than another?
My experience with these two great people, who I can call lifelong friends, was no better and no worse than anyone else’s but it was different. If you took us three, sat us down and asked us to recall our time we spend with each other in the dorm, around campus, and whatever else, you would get three completely different accounts with interjections of “Oh yeah!” from one of the other two people. What was important to me was not necessarily as important to them. What was the most vivid memory for me was not necessarily the most vivid memory for them. Yet, we were all there at the same time in theory.
Today, they (Dom and Rob) finish freshman year with me and will be not going to college with me anymore. It will arrive with neither pomp nor circumstance. It will simply be another day on the calendar. It will, however, be marked by a lot of people who came across these two great guys in their time at our college as they take a moment out of their day to remember two people who had a profound impact upon everyone they met and knew while attending our college. Let me repeat that: every single person who knew them and loved them in our college. I do not exaggerate, and those who truly know me will agree with me. Every person who knew them will tell you without the slightest hesitation that these two guys were their best friend – that they were, in their reality, their best friend. You know for the most part, they are ALL correct.
Because these people, whether they realize or not (they will at one point) had the ability to make every single person they met feel as if they were the center of the universe. This was a unique gift. Those who crossed paths with these guys during their life and time in our college life have their eyes open now to realize how lucky they were to have been able to share in part of their reality.
My reality is not shared with anyone – it is mine. I travel this world alone as does every other person – we share it with people who come in and out of our lives. Ultimately, each person is on an individual journey. Dom and Rob, two of my friends for life (for they were that in my reality) inherently knew this (or will know this). They lived their lives accordingly during the time we spent in college together. I, for one, will continue to strive to be more of what they both were: people who never self-proclaimed their reality as the most important, but rather people who shared in the lives of others including me hoping together they could make a difference. They did just that. They will realize it sooner or later.
I wish for nothing but the best for these two people. I am proud to call them lifelong friends. No matter where life takes you both, you both are going to do great things and I hope for the best. Be sure to understand that this is not a goodbye – it is a “see you later.” Keep in touch as we will! Friendship never goes away. It always is here to stay. Looking forward to reuniting in the days ahead of our lives! Thanks for crossing paths with me. I am a lucky person to be blessed by people. Rarely do we share in feeling this way.
We finished our freshman year of college!! Now, let the memories live with us — and let summer 2015 begin!